Why do long weekends go so quickly? This Bank holiday weekend has just flown by. One minute I’m bouncing to my car after work on Friday evening and the next I’m trudging back to work through gale force winds Monday morning. *Sighs* Such is life.
To mix things up a few of us from my running club decided to do a bit of parkrun tourism on Saturday morning instead of going to our usual local parkrun, Netley Abbey. I went with three other running club friends to Southsea parkrun, which is renowned for being super flat and speedy (depending if the wind isn’t too bad). I wanted to test out where my speed was on a flat course as I haven’t really had the chance (Netley has a hill you do three times).
Southsea isn’t far from us at all so it didn’t require too much of an early morning thankfully. I’m actually very lucky to have so many parkruns near us if I fancy going somewhere different (Eastleigh, Southampton, Winchester, Southsea and Netley are all fairly close – though Southampton is quickly becoming a very popular one with almost 800 going each week!).
We convoyed together and soon realised that it was fairly windy and quite cold. My hopes of getting a sub-21 minute parkrun were diminishing by the minute as I watched the seagulls getting battered about by the gales as we sat in the car, waiting until the last second to get out to go to the start.
The course is quite simple: it goes out along the seafront 2.5k and then back on the same route 2.5k. The first half was straight against the wind. I pushed my legs as fast as they would go, barely keeping my super speedy friend, Karen, in my sights. I just kept pushing and pushing, knowing that soon we’d be turning around and things would get a lot easier (in theory). I even tried to wedge myself in with bunches of runners but it didn’t seem to help.
It was quite cool to see all the speedy front runners zooming past the other way as I got closer to the turnaround point and then finally I was heading back. Ah relief! The wind was pushing me along now and I looked down at my watch to see a 6.15min/mile pace! I was gobsmacked – the fastest parkrun mile I think I’ve done is a 6.3Xminute. But it was clear how much the wind was helping when we ran through a slightly sheltered area and suddenly it became very hard again. Don’t get me wrong, even though the wind was helping it was still a tough run back, but it was a lot easier with the wind for definite! I wouldn’t have got that pace without it.
I could see the finish ahead but looked down at my watch and was confused – it was far too early! As I finished I stopped my watch – 2.9miles?? Short by 0.2miles. I looked around and other people finishing and saw they too were looking confused.
My time was 19.22 – which was stupid because in reality it would never be that quick if the course was a proper length. I felt a little bit cheated. I know it sounds silly but if I’d have known I’d have probably carried on running to get to 3.1miles (while somehow grabbing my finisher’s token…). I was on for such a good time! I was also concerned that that supposed PB would go on my parkrun profile. How would I ever be able to beat it!?
Thankfully we chatted to some of the parkrun guys and they said that everyone had agreed it was short and they would do some time adjustments later when they inputted the results. This made me feel so much better! But still I was deflated because it still wouldn’t really be a ‘real’ 5k time. Southsea parkrun made a lovely statement on Facebook afterwards so I’m not annoyed at them at all – these things happen, it’s not the Olympics after all. It just means we have unfinished business with Southsea and we will be back!
Very close to the parkrun area there’s a lovely little tea room/cafe called The Tenth Hole where we had planned to refuel. The Tenth Hole do they most amazing cakes and initially we were going to refuel with cake but all decided that at 10am that was probably unwise and no one’s stomachs were quite ready for that onslaught of sugar (yes, even mine!).
So we chose more time-appropriate things like toast, toasted muffins and (what I had) a veggie breakfast.
A toasted muffin, two fried eggs, a mushroom, black pudding and bubble and squeak
Though I swapped baked beans for black pudding so de-veggifying it! They did get a little snotty about me asking to swap the two items as apparently making amendments to orders would make things far too confusing in the kitchen which slightly baffled me considering you could add extra items to the meal anyway, and they weren’t exactly heaving! Anyway, they did kindly agree in the end with no extra charge.
It was very tasty and I adored the teapot and milk jug! How cute! And then obviously we did what all runners do…check out our stats and generally debrief about the race and our performance. I think everyone felt a little dissatisfied with the short course but in general we were all pleased with how speedy we’d been.
This parkrun has made me keen to test my legs on another 5k so I think I’ll aim for one of the local 5k race series towards the end of May. Normally I’d never bother with a 5k race other than parkruns but it’s awakened a slight hunger in me to see how fast I could go as my marathon training is going so well…Plus it’d be a good speed session!
Obviously I couldn’t leave without taking cake with me. My cake freezer stock (doesn’t everyone have one of those?) is running a little low so I thought this was the ideal opportunity to restock. I didn’t think I’d eat it that day as I was going for afternoon tea the next day with my parents (yes, yes, I know, again) so didn’t want to spoil that.
They are huge wedges (doorstop slabs – the ideal cake slice proportions in my opinion). Honestly I don’t think they’re going to last long in my freezer at all! But I do have that warm fuzzy feeling knowing that they’re there 🙂
So Southsea parkrun, we’ll be back! A great, friendly, inviting event on a super speedy course – just hopefully not so short next time 😉
Do you do enjoy a bit of parkrun tourism?
What would annoy you more: a short course or a long course? I’d rather run further because then at least you can look at what you could achieved at the correct measurement, rather than just wonder.
What’s your idea post-workout meal if you’re out at a cafe/restaurant?